Friday, April 4, 2014

Review 'Sacred Choices' by Karen Hulene Bartell

An inspirational love story centered on self-growth, Sacred Choices weaves together the lives of three resilient women. Ceren is a newly-married and pregnant professor who learns her husband is a bigamist who urges abortion. Judith, Ceren's colleague - an older, more worldly professor and pro-choice advocate - provides counsel based on her experiences. Judith's sister Pastora, a nun, provides the voice of reason. Written for, by, and about women who have had or are considering abortions, Sacred Choices is Ceren's journey - from her positive pregnancy test, through her decision whether or not to have an abortion - to an uncanny conclusion. Sacred Choices has an offbeat charm steeped in the supernatural. The protagonists' search for the answer to whether it is the Aztec goddess Tonantzin or Our Lady of Guadalupe who has been revered for the past 500 years is interrupted by a giggling, young girl, who appears only to Judith. Is she a figment of Judith's imagination, a vision - or could she be an angel, as Pastora believes? Set near Mexico City and incorporating present-day Hispanic and ancient Aztec beliefs, culture, and cuisine, Sacred Choices deeply celebrates the triumph of the spirit.

Karen Hulene Bartell approached me a couple of days ago to review her new book ‘Sacred Choices’. All though this book is different than most books I’ve read, I definitely wanted to check it out. The story sounded like something interesting so I was very clad to get this book and review it.

‘Sacred Choices’ is a story about two woman who are both dealing with abortion. Ceren is pregnant and needs to make a decision about if see is going to continue her pregnancy or if she is going to get an abortion.  In this book you read about Ceren’s struggle with this decision and what goes on in her head during this difficult time. Judith has had an abortion forty years ago and tries to use her experiences to help Ceren make this hard decision.
There is also Judith’s sister, The Sister (a little ‘Sacred Choices’ humor) Pastora who tries to help not only Ceren but also Judith to make peace with her past. But during this book you learn that Pastora’s life also hasn’t been easy, and helping Ceren and Judith, also helps her.

What I didn’t like about this book was Jared, Ceren’s ‘husband’. What a terrible and aggravating person. I couldn’t believe how na├»ve Ceren was towards him. I know they say love makes blind but if somebody I just met two weeks ago asks me to marry him I would think he is crazy and would run the other way. But maybe that’s just my emancipated upbringing talking. I really jumped with relief when Ceren finally realized what kind of person Jared really was.

What I found difficult about this book is that I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe in God and I never go to church. Apart from that I believe that everybody is free to believe what they choose, and I find different religions quiet fascinating. In ‘Sacred Choices’ there is a lot of talk about God and his way but being a ‘not-religious’ person this didn’t bother me at all. Karen Hulen Bartell’s writing made this book a great read. And I just really wanted to finish it and to find out what Ceren’s decision would be.  

Conclusion, ‘Sacred Choices’ is definitely a nice read. I loved the Aztec beliefs and culture that was put in this book. And I loved that this book took place in Puebla, Mexico. Since I’m going to Mexico in a couple of weeks this was nice surprise. And a nice bonus of ‘Sacred Choices’… There are two recipes of Mexican dishes Judith and Ceren were eating in the end of the book. Loved that. 

About the Author 

Dr. Karen Bartell, PhD, professor emerita of Soochow University, Taipei, Taiwan, the University of
Texas at Austin, and St. Edward's University, is an author, writers' workshop presenter, keynote speaker, IT technical editor, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural — that lift the spirit. Author of Sovereignty of the Dragons and Untimely Partners, Karen resides in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and her 'mews' — three rescued cats.

For more information, click www.karenhulenebartell, or contact her at

You can also find more information about 'Sacred Choices' on or on Amazon.


  1. This sounds like it would be a good read. Abortion and religion are such touchy subjects and I'm interested to read this for myself.

    1. It's definitely an interesting read. You should check it out ;)


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